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5. The Slide Trumpet

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

5  The Slide Trumpet

Unlike the natural trumpet, the modern Baroque trumpet with vent holes, and the cornetto, the slide trumpet has not enjoyed a similar level of attention in the period instrument revival. The reason may be that the term “slide trumpet” describes three or more different instruments depending on the historical time period, musical style, and geographical location under consideration. The instrument’s repertoire is also partially to blame, some of which remains a source of conjecture, especially several cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. The primary focus of this chapter is the tromba da tirarsi and its predecessors, along with the flat (or flatt) trumpet and the English slide trumpet, as well as related instruments such as the corno da tirarsi and the soprano, or piccolo, trombone, which makes occasional cameo appearances in jazz performances under the name “slide trumpet.”

Before going any further, it is necessary to acknowledge that the trombone evolved from the slide trumpet in the Renaissance and that for some time these two cylindrical brass instruments and their slide mechanisms were not standardized. Also, details of instrumental construction and nomenclature were rather fluid in the sixteenth century. Differences between the horn, the trumpet, and the trombone became more distinct in the seventeenth century.1

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19. Solo Repertoire after 1900

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

19  Solo Repertoire after 1900

The development of the trumpet as a prominent solo instrument in the twentieth century would never have happened without the technical strides of jazz trumpeters and the influence of the cornet virtuosos. Like Anton Weidinger and the great Baroque soloists before him, the expansion of trumpet solo repertoire in the twentieth century revolved around virtuoso soloists rather than leading composers. As mentioned in previous chapters, no major composer was a brass player prior to the twentieth century, and the gap in solo literature during the Romantic era reflects this fact as well as the cultural divisions of musical styles.

The cornet soloists of the nineteenth century largely created their own repertoire. Some of the earliest solos for cornet and piano were composed by cornet players from the orchestra of the Paris Opera, notably Joseph Forestier, Stanislas Verronst, Charles-Alexandre Fessy, and Jean Baptiste Schiltz (the leading cornet player in Paris in 1840, according to Wagner).1 Jean-Baptiste Arban included “Twelve Fantasias and Variations” at the end of his famous Complete Conservatory Method in 1864, of which the most popular are Fantasie brilliante, Variations on a Theme from “Norma,” and Variations on “The Carnival of Venice.” Arban also composed several additional “fantasias” on themes from operas, including Verdi’s Aida, Rigoletto, and La traviata.2 In the United States, Herbert L. Clarke composed more than thirty cornet solos, including The Bride of the Waves, The Debutante, The Maid of the Mist, and his own version of Variations on “The Carnival of Venice.”

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Appendix D: Selected Recordings: An Annotated List

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

Appendix D: Selected Recordings: An Annotated List

Listening to good recordings is an essential component of learning about period instruments and musical artistry in general. It is also a valuable way to survey the evolution of trumpet solo technique and repertoire beginning in the twentieth century. The thirty recordings listed here represent a sampling of the instruments of the trumpet family and the wide variety of music they perform. Both audio and video recordings are included to provide the widest possible context. These recordings have been selected to stimulate wider listening and to expand historical awareness; a banquet of artistry awaits the curious audiophile.

Formatting a discography presents several challenges because of the wide variety of content and presentation among recordings. For example, should the performer be listed first or the composer? What about collections with multiple soloists? The recordings here are listed in alphabetical order by their primary identifier: main performer, composer, or title (for a collection or film).

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16. Strike Up the Band

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

16  Strike Up the Band

Most trumpeters today encounter their formative musical experiences playing in a band. Whether in a brass band, concert band, marching band, or jazz band, trumpets and cornets often take the lead with artistically significant and technically challenging repertoire. The development of the modern valved trumpet in B-flat went hand in hand with the development of the wind band. Indeed, the evolution of the more trumpetlike cornet design in the 1920s and the adoption of the trumpet by pioneering jazz artists were both influenced by bands. Also, the leaders of famous bands were often cornet players, most notably Patrick Gilmore, Edwin Franko Goldman, and Merle Evans. W. C. Handy, the father of the blues, played the cornet in a band, and even John Philip Sousa played the cornet, although the violin was his primary instrument.

This chapter offers a brief survey of band history to provide a beneficial perspective and fill in some of the gaps in the cultural history of the trumpet family. Unfortunately, many general sources (especially music appreciation texts) fail to cover wind bands for reasons of benign neglect, cultural prejudice, or lack of space. This chapter attempts to rectify that trend by outlining the major categories of band development. Issues regarding the use of trumpets versus cornets in modern performance are left to the discretion of band directors and individual ensembles.

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14. Classical Repertoire

Elisa Koehler Indiana University Press ePub

14  Classical Repertoire

Despite the novelty of Anton Weidinger and his keyed trumpet, the trumpet was not viewed as a solo instrument during the Classical era. Aside from the last gasps of clarino playing that flourished in imperial Vienna in the 1760s and later experiments with hand-stopping and key mechanisms, trumpet playing in the late eighteenth century was restricted to the second octave of the overtone series and the subordinate role of emphasizing simple tonic and dominant key centers in orchestral compositions. Societal changes also had an impact on the role of the trumpet in civic ceremonies. As monarchies and empires were replaced by democratic governments and political revolutionaries, the status of the formerly royal instrument was subsequently demoted.

As shown in earlier chapters, experiments with early keyed brasses and valve mechanisms were slow to be accepted into the mainstream for cultural as well as social reasons. Imperfections in intonation and inconsistences in tone quality were other factors. Although the nineteenth century would later be considered “the brass century” thanks to the popularity of the cornet and other valved brasses, the Age of Enlightenment was ironically the lowest point in the trumpet’s history from an artistic standpoint. This chapter explores the few highlights of the era, including orchestral writing, the concerti of Haydn and Hummel, and the changes in music education that were to bear fruit in the Romantic era.

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